Considering Buying a New Construction Home in South Florida? Here's What to Expect
If you’ve been paying attention to the real estate market in South Florida, you know that there’s been a massive increase in demand for the SoFlo lifestyle! As a result, there has been a surge in builders and developers bringing new homes and condominium developments to the region. New construction properties are the ideal choice for some buyers, as they offer a blank slate and a degree of customization, among other amazing benefits. If you’re considering purchasing a new construction home, it’s essential to develop a strategy before looking. There are so many layers to the new construction sales process, and Signature International Real Estate is here to help you gain a deeper understanding of what you can expect on your home-buying journey.
The Benefits of New Construction
Today’s new construction homes offer more benefits than ever before, making them a strong contender for any home search. Depending on what’s important to you as a buyer, you may find that the advantages of a newly built home outweigh the benefits of purchasing a pre-owned home. Here are just a few of the perks of buying a newly built home:
One significant advantage to buying a new construction home is that you’ll often have the opportunity to customize the home to your specific taste and needs. Do you have a dog that sheds a lot? You can select lighter hardwood or tile floors to help disguise the hair. Do you work from home? You can add a spacious home office. Are you a fan of light and bright? You have the option to choose white cabinets and soft paint colors for your entire space. All of these aspects can be customized to your specific wants and needs during the design phase. With an existing home, you’re buying something that’s already completed, so if you want to make changes, you may need to hire a contractor to help get your home ready for your family.
A brand new home will come with new energy-efficient appliances, new windows, and a new roof, all of which can help to lower your energy costs. Many new construction homes are also certified by an independent, third-party home energy rater, which requires the home to meet specific energy standards and requirements. This means the home will include insulated walls and ceilings, helping to keep your South Florida home cool during the summer months. All of these aspects of modern construction can add up to significant savings over time.
Lower Insurance Premiums
In many cases, a new construction home can be more affordable to insure than a similar but older home built before 2001 when building codes weren't as stringent as they are now. For example, the difference in an insurance policy for an older wood-frame home VS a newer concrete block home in South Florida can equate to hundreds of dollars each year in savings. Be sure to talk to your insurance agent for advice on this before buying a home.
When you buy a brand new home, it’s unlikely you’ll have any repairs to tackle. In an older home, you may have leaky faucets to repair, shutters to paint, roof repairs, etc. With new construction, you’ll also usually have warranty options that may cover portions of your investment for the first few years.
A New Community With Top Amenities
When you purchase a home in a newly built community, you get more than just a house. You also gain a brand new community with amenities and features you can’t always find in a pre-owned home. Along with the added bonus of an expertly crafted neighborhood, many communities come with a full social calendar and a fully equipped gym with fitness classes.
Many South Florida communities also offer resort-style amenities, such as:
- Guarded gatehouses
- Swimming pools
- Grand clubhouses
- Walking trails
- Tennis courts
- Fitness centers
Whether you’re a growing family searching for more space, or a senior looking for an active lifestyle, new construction communities have something for everyone.
How Does Buying New Construction Compare to Buying an Existing Home?
When you’re considering buying a new construction home, it’s essential also to consider the benefits of buying an existing home. Let’s take a look.
Generally, when you’re buying a new construction home, you won’t be able to negotiate much on the price. However, there may be a bit of wiggle room regarding incentives such as upgrades and closing costs. On the other hand, you can usually negotiate with the current homeowner on the sale price of an existing home. Developers know their material, labor, and construction costs – and they have a price set for the model you’re interested in purchasing. So, if you want to negotiate, an existing home may be your best bet.
In South Florida, many new construction homes are built within brand new neighborhoods. To some families, moving into an established neighborhood may be more attractive. You’ll have the ability to get to know the neighbors, understand whether or not the area is family-friendly, and get a general feel about the neighborhood before committing.
When purchasing an existing home, you’ll be able to move in based on the timeline agreed with the sellers. With new construction, you’ll need to wait for the home to be completed. Factors like inclement weather, material delays, and more can drastically affect the construction timeline. This is a crucial aspect to be mindful of – especially if you need to move sooner rather than later.
First Things First: Hire a South Florida Real Estate Agent
Some buyers don’t feel it’s necessary to hire a real estate agent when buying a new construction property. They think that because there’s a sales agent on-site, they don’t need to bring in anyone else, right? Wrong! This mistake could cost you – money and time. Remember, the on-site sales agent works for and represents the seller – and won’t have your best interest in mind. Purchasing a home is one of the most significant investments you can make, so why not rely on an expert? There is a considerable difference in a real estate agent's approach when it comes to buying new construction versus resale homes in South Florida. A Signature real estate professional will work on your behalf. They’ll look out for your best interests and ask all the right questions. They can also help you connect with other sound professionals, such as building inspectors, appraisers, pest inspectors, contractors, and more. A seasoned agent can often negotiate the contract for upgrades and finishes that don’t come standard with the home or help get you a sizable closing cost credit from the seller.
A contract for a new build will usually have significant differences from a standard residential real estate contract. Most regular residential contracts in the State of Florida are designed to protect the interests of both the buyer and seller. On the other hand, many builders use agreements much different from the real estate board contracts used in re-sale transactions. These contracts primarily protect the interests of the builder, not the buyer. Of course, this doesn’t mean you’ll have to accept the first contract presented to you by a builder. There’s still room for negotiation – you can make changes to the agreement so that it’s more balanced in your favor. This is where your Signature real estate agent comes in.
The bottom line: Having an expert real estate agent by your side when looking at newly built homes for sale in South Florida will ensure that you make good decisions and get the best value you can for your investment.
Not All Home Builders Are Alike
South Florida’s new construction is different from new construction in other parts of the country; Developers here cannot build fast enough to keep up with the consumer demand, which poses a new set of challenges when negotiating the best deal. Plus, not all home builders are alike, especially regarding their quality of construction, reputation, and customer service.
It’s so easy to fall in love at first sight when looking at shiny new home plans or a fabulous model home. However, an experienced real estate agent will guide you through every step of the home buying process, pointing out any potential problems with the builder and helping you through the construction process to the contract negotiation.
Keep in mind that it’s vital to perform your research about the property’s builder and discuss any potential issues with your agent to see whether those align with their knowledge, and take that into account when making your final decision.
Whether you’re thinking about purchasing a newly built home or an existing home in South Florida, both are great options! They each have their pros and cons – and every buyer will have different wants, needs, and circumstances driving their decision. If you’re interested in learning more about all of the available options in South Florida and beyond, connect with a Signature agent today! We’ll do everything we can to help you feel confident deciding on your next home.